About a week ago I performed a cutout at an apartment complex. I pretty much knew where the hive was from their entrance, but the thermal camera confirmed the location. I drilled a small hole to verify (a few girls peaked out), and then cut open the ceiling (second image). The third image shows the area just after I finished removing the bees and comb. Unfortunately, the queen didn't make it in this cutout and the bees are raising a new queen (last photo). I'm feeding them and will build them up to overwinter. This hive was booming, but I did note a small hive beetle as I was working.
A fellow beekeeper called me as her hive was getting weaker and weaker. The problem was, the hive had been queenless for a while. I zoomed in so you can see the multiple eggs in each cell and the eggs that are laid on the side of a cell (rather than centered). You can save a hive with laying workers, but it is a lot of work and I suggest combining it with another hive or just giving up on it (shake the bees all out in front of your other hives). If you have other hives most of the workers will eventually get in, but the laying workers will not.
If you don't know what a hive beetle looks like, here you go. Thankfully, I don't have many of these - healthy hives keep them in check. I know I'm not the only one who really enjoys squashing these when you find them.
This is a very productive queen, with a great laying pattern. The interesting thing to note here is sometimes even great queens get confused. Can you find the cell with two eggs in it?
I picked this swarm up around 7:00 in the morning. The folk's whose yard it was in called me late the night before, so I headed out early to pick it up. It was one of my easiest swarm calls this year. The swarm is doing great.
I recently presented on honey bees to members of the MidAtlantic Chapter of the American Public Works Association. It was a lot of fun presenting to folks who are not beekeepers. This is a nuc I took to the conference. In the background you can see the equipment that was setup for the Equipment Rodeo (think of it as a test of skill with large equipment). This was a great hive, everyone saw the queen, and folks lined up to have their picture taken holding a frame of bees!
These girls obviously over stayed their visa! Sometimes a swarm will start drawing out comb if the stay in a location too long. This could have been complicated as there was very little room to work, but I located the queen, got her in the box, and everyone else marched on in.
My niece is all set to help me in the apiary this coming summer! I picked up this child's jacket just for these moments. It is too cold still to get in to the hives much, but she'll be ready this summer when she visits again.
With this weather it seems early, but yesterday I helped a fellow beekeeper capture the first swarm of the season!
Not all beekeepers are familiar with the USDA Bee Research Laboratory located in Maryland. The laboratory provides free diagnosis of diseases in honey bees. According to their site "Samples received of adult bees and beeswax comb (with and without bee brood) are examined for bacterial, fungal and microsporidian diseases as well as for two species of parasitic mites and other pests associated with honey bees (i.e., small hive beetle, Aethina tumida). When requested, American foulbrood samples are cultured and isolates are screened for their sensitivity to Terramycin (oxytetracycline) and Tylan (tylosin).
Learn how to submit samples at the laboratory's website and better understand the challenges your bees are facing!